My love hate relationship with running

James Beaston

Sport and Physical activity has been a passion of mine throughout my life, something I classed myself as ‘good’ at. Throughout my school days I would play on all the teams and I guess this is where I first experienced my enjoyment of running, and getting out of breath!

In my early primary school days I was the fastest boy in school! I enjoyed sprinting. However not blessed with height at an early age, I soon found myself left behind once entering high school. I knew I had stamina as I could run around a football pitch all day, so I decided to sign up to the cross country team.   

At the age of 13 I was running in regular national cross country competitions and even managed to win a couple! At the same time I was playing cricket for my local team as well as playing football for Sheffield Utd. You could say my life revolved around running in one way or another!  

As I have grown older my love for team games has grown and my love for structured running not so much. I got to a point where I sort of had to make a choice which sport I would commit myself to longer term, that sport for me was football.  

During my university days I found I needed a release from the stress and workload. I began to run again. I entered a few 10ks to give myself something to work towards. I found running allowed me to escape and gave me an alternative focus. Again following university running took a back seat as I stepped into the world of full time work. This partnered with football and gym was already enough to keep me extremely busy!

I am probably not your typical runner, more of a broad gym fanatic! However more recently I agreed to run Doncaster half marathon with friends to raise money for Group B Strep disease. My friend’s baby was born with GBS and it wasn’t until they were discharged from the hospital that they realised the severity of this. They have set out to raise/increase awareness around this and help support other couples experiencing the same nightmare they did.    

Not long ago did I take my first steps into a running shop, before I knew it I was whisked off to run on a treadmill. I never knew finding trainers was so technical! Not long after this I was walking out with everything I needed to become a full time athlete! Running shoes, special socks, and armband for my phone, the full works!

I must admit I was a bit nervous signing up for a half marathon, not sure I have ever run that far in three games of football never mind all in one go! I began training in early March, juggling this around football wasn’t easy as I was always mindful of being sore for my games! I started off with running 5k twice a week and slowly built up the distance and intensity each week. 

In late March we were hit with COVID-19 and I began to work from home, all gyms were shut, football was cancelled so I had no excuse not to use running as my daily allowance of exercise. I have found mentally some days are better than others for me and my mood tends to go up and down in waves. However running has once again allowed me to forget about everything else, I now find myself concentrating on listening to my split times! I have become quite competitive with myself. Although the Doncaster half marathon is postponed I have continued with the training and I am loving it!

I am lucky enough to live in a small village between Leeds and York, some of the views I see when I am out are beautiful and I have come across so many paths and places I never knew existed. Running has always been a bit of a love hate relationship for me, but I would say that I am definitely swaying more to the love side (for now anyway!).

 There are so many benefit that’s running can bring to your life, not only the physical benefits but mental as well, and it something that I plan to continue with, even post lockdown.


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